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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

New OneDrive API, possibly unified with OneDrive for Business

Microsoft offers two similar, but separate, services containing the OneDrive moniker. There’s OneDrive (which is free) and OneDrive for Business (which isn’t). Strangely (as my ex-colleague Mark Wilson points out at OneDrive for Business: lots of cloud storage; terrible sync client) the free offering is much better than the paid-for one.

Microsoft state in their blog post Taking the Next Step in Sync for OneDrive on 7th January 2015:

It was clear that the right approach was to converge to a single sync engine and experience that would be able to provide all of the benefits of the consumer and business service to all customers faster. We decided to start with the consumer sync engine foundation from Windows 7 and Windows 8 and add the right capabilities from the other two engines.

That’s Microsoft-speak for “Yes, OneDrive for Business is shit so we’re dumping it in favour of the OneDrive stuff”. Good news.


Back in October 2014 Microsoft announced the availability of a Files API that allowed developers the ability to access files stored in Office 365

we’re enhancing the opportunity for developers with Office 365, with new APIs for mail, files, calendar and contacts. These new robust REST-based APIs empower all developers to leverage the more than 400 petabytes of data (as of March 2014) and popular services across Office 365 in any application.

New Office 365 extensibility for Windows, iOS, Android and web developers

I asked a couple of the guys that worked on the API would the files API work against OneDrive and/or OneDrive 4 Business? The answer from Chris Johnson was “working on it”:

image

That sounded like good news too.


Yesterday Microsoft announced the availability of The new OneDrive API which is a RESTful API. Given that they are attempting to unify OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, and also given Chris Johnson’s response to my question in October, I wondered whether this API would cover OneDrive for Business as well so I decided to check out the new OneDrive API using the API console and found something quite promising. A request to https://api.onedrive.com/v1.0/drive/ which GETs a user’s default drive returns:

image

Note the mention of

"driveType": "consumer"

That says to me that there will be other driveTypes and so I assume that this API will be used to access OneDrive for Business stuff also. More good news if that’s the case. I tweeted that question but at the time of writing haven’t had an answer.


Some questions still remain in my mind:

  • What’s the difference between this new OneDrive API and the files API announced back in October? Do we have two teams building essentially the same thing? That sounds like the bad old Microsoft of old so I do hope not.
  • Are we ever going to get a RESTful API that will enable us to push data into an Excel workbook that is stored on OneDrive? Chris Webb and I have been asking for this for five years now. Again I asked the question on Twitter and am still hoping for a response. I do have high hopes that the new Power BI REST API will sate my needs here (right now I wouldn’t know because if one isn’t in the US then one cannot access it).

@Jamiet

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 11:54 AM by jamiet
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Joshbooker said:

•What’s the difference between this new OneDrive API and the files API announced back in October?

While the feature set may be somewhat different, I believe the main diff has to do with authentication.  

My understanding: the whole reason there is OneDrive and OneDriveforBiz is because the latter is Office365 SharePoint Document Libraries while the former is a consumerized version of the same having SharePoint hidden behind the scenes...Similar to Office Live formerly being a free consumer version of file sharing & site hosting also having SharePoint behind the scenes.  

OneDrive uses Microsoft Live auth while the Office 365 APIs (of which the Files API is part) use Azure AD for authentication through user consent at runtime which means you basically have access to a single individual's files, I think.

Do we have two teams building essentially the same thing?

I'm afraid so.  The OneDrive team has developed the recently released OneDriveAPI.  And the VS Office Dev Tools team is developing the Office365APIs.

February 25, 2015 5:27 PM
 

Joshbooker said:

>>I do have high hopes that the new Power BI REST API will sate my needs here (right now I wouldn’t know because if one isn’t in the US then one cannot access it).

Why not just start up a Azure VM in 'East US'?

February 25, 2015 5:29 PM
 

jamiet said:

I've heard this rumour before about OneDrive being backed by SharePoint. Let's end those rumours now. Its not backed by SharePoint, it was built from the ground up as something else.

I could spin up a US VM I suppose. Might go and do that now.

February 25, 2015 5:41 PM
 

jamiet said:

Tried it. Didn't work :( Seems they decide what country you're in based on your email address, not on where you're browsing from.

February 25, 2015 6:05 PM
 

Joshbooker said:

> I've heard this rumour before about OneDrive being backed by SharePoint. Let's end those rumours now. Its not backed by SharePoint, it was built from the ground up as something else.

Perhaps, but it's predecessors were indeed backed by SharePoint.  Maybe you're right and that's why it works well compared to ODB which is sync for SharePoint.

Another branding debacle I suppose.

February 25, 2015 6:53 PM
 

Maya said:

Onedrive is a very good app. Watch this video to see how to set up Onedrive and how to upload your files from your Drive into your OneDrive account. I will show you how to use the storage technology of microsoft and how to use and download the OneDrive hope you enjoy.  

http://youtu.be/bDpD8lfceUc

May 28, 2015 3:14 PM

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